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‘Govt not going back on anti-encroachment drive in Munnar’

‘Govt not going back on anti-encroachment drive in Munnar’

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday said there would be no compromise on removing illegal encroachers on government land in Munnar and rejected the opposition's charge that the eviction drive had been stopped.

He was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved in the state assembly by the Congress-led UDF Opposition on the recent controversy connected to the anti-encroachment drive in Munnar.

He rejected the Opposition charge that government had stopped the eviction drive and said the proposed all-party meeting to be held soon was to arrive at a consensus and to get the support of people for carrying out the drive.

Vijayan said the government would move sternly against big encroachers and unauthorised structures in ecologically sensitive Munnar region.

The government had only pointed out lapses on the part of district officials while removing a 'cross' from Pappathichola in Munnar on April 17 that triggered the row, Vijayan said, adding that the ruling LDF was committed to evict encroachments.

Vijayan said the eviction was carried out by destroying the cross in the early hours of day without consulting the police.

So it was decided to form a co-ordination mechanism of revenue and police to carry out the eviction drive, he said.

The encroached land would be recovered and be assigned to landless people in the state, he said.

The government would also protect those with below 10 cents of land and provide title deeds to settlers before January 1, 1977, he added.

"Government views differently the issue of settlers and that of encroachers," he said.

He sought to turn the tables on the UDF Opposition, saying all encroachments in Munnar had taken place during UDF rule and 'no land grab happened during LDF time'.

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